Thursday, 31 July 2014

Holiday in West Wales Pt 2 - St David's

I've posted about the wonderful site I stayed on during my break to West Wales but I've still got plenty of photos to share from the places I visited during my stay. After extending our two day break to more of a midweek break Martyn decided to take us to the pretty little village of St David's for the day. St Davids is named after the patron saint of Wales, Saint David. Little fact for you here: St Davids is the smallest city in Britain with a population of just over 1,600. The roots of St Davids go back to the 4th century when St David himself lived here.

This is a picture of St David's in Wales.

St Davids Cathedral is built from a local stone with a beautiful pink and grey colouring. It occupies the valley floor below the village. As you approach from The Square, you can't see the Cathedral until you get fairly close. When you pass through The Gatehouse, it's magnificently revealed in front of you.

This is a picture of a stained glass window.

I studied monastic life and church history at uni so I always enjoy visiting churches even though I'm not religious at all. The weird rituals, magnificent buildings and long, varied history have always kept me interested.


There was so much to take in and thousands of little details in the cathedral like the tomb of Edmund Tudor who was father of the King Henry VII is there. He was a Lancastrian and captured by Yorkists in mid-1456 who imprisoned him at Carmarthen Castle in South Wales, where he died of the plague later that year. His remains were moved to the removed to the choir of St David's Cathedral.
Edmund's only child, the future Henry VII, was born at Pembroke Castle which was close by.


I loved the book above which had lots of weird and wonderful ancient Welsh laws in it.


Next door to St Davids Cathedral is the ruin of The Bishops Palace which is well worth a visit. The Palace became one of the victims of the reformation and now lies in ruins. It was once a very grand  residence and you have to use a little imagination to get a feel for what it was like.


Martyn and I relaxed in the grounds of the cathedral before heading into town to get an ice cream and take a look at the market square. If you get a chance to visit West Wales I highly recommend a visit to St David's. I hear the surf if pretty good around those parts too.

Gemma
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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Camping Holiday in West Wales - Pt1

Camping is a bit of a British national pastime and it's becoming more popular again with lots of 'glamping' sites with bell tents and tipis popping up all over the place. The appeal lies in sleeping under the stars, waking up in an unfamiliar place with breathtaking views and ... hunting in the dark for your torch so you can go to the loo. I had intended to stay in a B&B for a couple of days on the coast but prices become extortionate when the kids aren't in school so I opted for  more budget friendly camping trip.
My camping trip was originally only going to be a two night break but we were blessed with amazing weather so we decided to make it a much longer stay and West Wales definitely felt more like the Balearic Islands. It was 27-29 degrees the whole time we were there which was perfect for enjoying the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast which is a national park.

I stayed at the rather lovely Trevayne Farm campsite which had private access to Monkstone beach.  You can only reach it via a short walk through the farm or along the coastal path, there is no car access. We had the place to ourselves in the evening and it was far more quiet than Tenby and Saundersfoot which were nearby. 

This is a picture of Monkstone beach in Pembrokeshire.

It was so warm that I ditched my black tights for the first time in months, got my pastey legs out and even swam in the sea. 

monkstone beach

It was a little too hot to walk along the national trail without flaking out but we managed to walk around the site and explore a little bit of the coast close to Trevayne. 

This is a picture of the Pembrokeshire coastal path


There were lovely views of Tenby and Saundersfoot from out site.

This is a picture of Tenby from Trevayne campsite

I've never been too keen on camping (bad Duke of Edinburgh and festival experiences) but I will definitely be returning to this site. The facilities were clean and I really enjoyed not having an electric hookup for our tent and no wi-fi. I managed to read a couple of books whilst I was away and just relax without constantly checking my phone or worrying about the outside world.

This is a picture of Trevayne Farm Campsite.


I've got plenty more photos of my holiday to share with you including my trips to Caldey Island and St David's so keep an eye out for those next week.

Are you a fan of staying in the UK for your holidays or do you dream of something a little more exotic?

Gemma
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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Plus Size Summer Style

It's always hard knowing what to wear in the summer if you're a size 16+ like me. You want to keep cool and fashionable, yet you might not feel comfortable in crop tops and you all know I live in black tights and cardigans so I really struggle. So what can you wear this summer that ticks all the boxes? Take a look at a few suggestions:

Skater Dresses

These are my style staple all year round. I layer them up with a cardigan and tights in the winter but wear them with nude tights in the summer. They are easy to wear, suit all shapes and are available everywhere. I don’t really have a separate summer/winter wardrobe (we don’t really have seasons in Wales, just rain) so I utilise what I have.

This is definelty the most summery dress I own.

Bodycon Dress

Don't think this statement style is just for slimmer women. Any girl can easily rock a bodycon dress. Don’t hide under layers of fabric in a maxi dress which loads of plus size retailers sell in the summer. They look great with sandals in the day if you go for a jersey one or in the evening with heels for a more glamorous look.

Pencil Skirts

For that famous Marilyn Monroe wiggle, look no further than a pencil skirt. Team with a pair of gorgeous heels and a beautiful chiffon blouse to stay cool, or a fitted short sleeve wrap shirt for work and you're ready to take on the world in style.

Leggings

The bigger girl’s best friend, leggings are comfortable and can go under shorter dresses and tunics to give that little bit of extra confidence to the girl who isn't too fond of having her legs on show like me. I just feel bar without something on my legs. They are also great for chub rub (you know what I’m talking about, right?)  You'll find a great selection of leggings at George that are the perfect addition to any outfit. Just remember, leggings and shorter tops are a no no because there's nothing worse than seeing your underwear through a pair of leggings that are too see through. I’ve picked up a few pairs of shorts to wear under short dresses in the summer too which are great to make sure I’m not flashing anything and are a cute way to beat the ‘chub rub’.

Shoes

To elongate the legs and make you appear taller, plus add a little spring in your step, heels are just the thing. The right pair of shoes can make or break an outfit and heels are a fantastic way to inject a little bit of colour into an outfit, especially if you're a fan of dark clothes. I mainly wear black, even in the summer so bright shoes can make my wardrobe more season appropriate, Everyone needs the perfect pair of black heels, and nude heels are also a great addition to any wardrobe, but that is where practicality ends and fun takes over. Think colour block heels, bright red heels, cut out styles or pretty patterned heels and you'll have the perfect addition to any outfit. Baseball style shoes are also really practical and are perfect for summer walks.
My pink and red mel shoes certainly brighten up a dark dress.

Just because I’m not ‘straight sized’ doesn’t mean I hide away in the summer and you don't have to stick to the 'safe' option. Have fun with fashion and work those gorgeous curves.

Gemma
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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Pink Clove - Monochrome dress


Dress: c/o Pink Clove
Shoes: Mel
Belt: Dorothy Perkins


Pinkclove.co.uk is home to a great range of clothing in sizes 16-32. They translate the latest trends from the catwalks and convert them to evening and day wear. Everything is very affordable and the striped dress I'm wearing retails for £24. It's a very heavy textured material instead of a flimsy jersey and is the perfect length for work coming in just above the knee. It came with a black patent belt but I swapped that to tie in with the shoes I wore. I've already worn this a handful of times and I know it's going to be a reliable addition to my wardrobe. 

Georgina looks gorgeous in one of their dresses too which I'm very tempted to buy myself. 


I've been wearing these Mel shoes loads this summer, they are super comfortable and perfect for the beach because you can wear them for paddling in the sea because they are jelly shoes. I do get a few odd looks when I wear them though, a lot of people aren't ready for plastic shoes with shiny hearts on them. I really want to get these shoes in the navy blue and pink version too.


By the time this is published I will be on my way to West Wales for a short break, I can't wait to relax on the beach and unwind for a few days. Hope you have a lovely week and I'll see you all soon!

Gemma
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Saturday, 19 July 2014

West Wales Holiday

I'm so incredibly happy to have a week off work this week. We're currently having a big refurbishment in work which has meant lots of lifting, moving books and setting up a new issue desk and I'm exhausted.  Me and my boyfriend are heading to West Wales for a few days and I'm really looking forward to relaxing on the beach, having a BBQ, doing plenty of walking along the Pembrokeshire coastal path and just getting away from it all. I spent a lot of time in this area as a child and always had a week break in Tenby at the start of the summer holiday before we headed abroad for our main holiday later in the summer.

I'm going to be camping next to Monkstone Beach which is roughly midway between Saundersfoot and Tenby. You can only access it through our campsite so I'm hoping it's going to be pretty quiet and relaxing. 

Broadhavensouth.jpg
"Broadhavensouth" by JKMMX - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.



I haven't been on a seaside holiday in the summer for years so I really need to stock up on some essentials before I head off.

waterproof jacket beach towel shorts - dressswimsuit  - flip flops - bag

I'm being very optimistic buy taking swimwear but the forecast is good and I'll be taking a waterproof jacket in case there is a little shower when I go walking. 

I won't be back until the end of the week so see you all soon!

Gemma
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Friday, 18 July 2014

Day in the life of Fat Frocks

6.15am - Alarm goes off and I sigh, press snooze a few times and finally drag myself into the shower and get ready to head to work. I catch the train to Cardiff and head to work in one of the libraries at Cardiff University.


8.45am - Arrive at the hideous 70s building I work in and eat my breakfast before going to my desk.


9am-1pm - Provide IT support in the morning, help people access the wi-fi, scan documents, change passwords and anything else that comes up. Tweet from our library account and reply to any questions on there. Work on any marketing campaign we might have or create displays like the new book stand below. 


This is a picture of a sandwich.

1pm-2pm - Head to the park for lunch, read the paper, tweet and walk a little. 

This is a picture of books on a shelf.

2pm-5pm - Work on the issue counter, returning and issuing books and dealing with queries. Send books to other libraries as part of the inter library loans service. Attend meetings of the working groups I'm part of. 


5pm-6pm - Get the train back home, make some food and head to a yoga class for an hour. 

This is a photo of salmon with a bean salsa.

8pm-10pm - Hang out with the dork below, watch some Netflix and faff around in my room to avoid doing chores which Martyn inevitably ends up doing. 


10pm-11pm - Read books, blogs and the days news before going to sleep. 

This is a photo of a book and a pair of reading glasses.


Gemma
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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

52 Lists - List your favourite books


1. Submarine - Joe Dunthorne  
2. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ - Sue Townsend
3. Blood and Roses - Helen Castor
4. Bonjour Tristesse - Fran├žoise Sagan
5. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
7. Junky - William S. Burroughs
8. Harry Potter & Discworld books. 


What are your favourite books?


This is part of the 52 lists series by Emma from Made in Hunters which I'm dipping in and out of.

Gemma
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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Fat Frocks' Recent Adventures

I've been very busy indeed the past month with a big refurbishment where I work, lots of days out and Martyn's birthday. I've not had chance to post everything on there so I've got a very photo heavy round-up post today to let you know what I've been up to recently.

This is a picture of a breaking bad themed cake that I made and a trip to the seaside.

On Martyn's birthday weekend we headed to Tintern Abbey, Ogmore beach and I made him a Breaking Bad cake. I made the cake on a boiling hot day and trying to get the icing to not melt everywhere was such a nightmare. The cake tasted so good though and was bright blue inside, would love a huge slice right now.

This is a picture of devil's pulpit

Martyn and I loved our first trip to Tintern Abbey so much, we decided to head back at night and explore the area more and  walked up to Devil's Pulpit for amazing views. Our walk started at the beautfulTintern Abbey, headed along the western bank of the River Wye before crossing over the river and uphill on wooded paths towards ancient Offa's Dyke. The Devil's Pulpit is a limestone rock jutting out from the cliffs from where (legend has it) the devil preached to the monks below, tempting them to desert their order.

this is a picture of Tintern Abbey at night

this is a picture of summerdown beach in wales

I headed to Southerndown beach (Bad Wolf Bay for Dr Who fans) with the girls to fossil hunt, paddle in the sea and see the location for a handful of Doctor Who episodes. Doomsday was filmed here and The Time Of Angels. I would love to head back here with my dog Sookie one day and swim in the sea with her, it was such a beautiful beach.

This is a picture of Doctor Who filing in Cardiff

I had lots more Doctor Who fun when I went to watch the new series being filmed in Cardiff. I never tire of seeing Cybermen walking around Cardiff and my friend Julien got a photo with The Doctor, Peter Capaldi. The BBC are always using buildings where I work as locations for Doctor Who and Sherlock, exciting stuff. 


I also headed to a wonderful elf makeup event where we were showed how to create floral festival make up looks using a colourful palette and a whole face look with just five products. I enjoyed hanging out with Amy and Laura and learning a few things about make up because I'm certainly not a beauty blogger.


I briefly feature in one of the elf YouTube videos from the event which has taught me that red lipstick doesn't suit me at all. Don't think I've ever been on YouTube before, would love to make my own content to put on there but no idea where I would start. 



I hope I've got equally fun things to report back on this time next month and I hope you have a lovely month too.

Gemma
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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

52 Lists - List your dreams for the future (right now)

Amtrak California Zephyr Green River - Floy, Utah.jpgAmtrak California Zephyr Green River - Floy, Utah

1. To buy my own house and fill it with books.
2. To work part time so I can get a dog and be home with it, cook more and get crafty.
3. To see all my friends fulfill their dreams.
4.Own a bike and explore more of Wales on it.
5. To be happy with the way I look.
6. To take a trip across the USA on the California Zephyr train next year with Martyn.
7. Visit more of the UK, I've never been to Scotland!
8. To go back to university and study for an MA in Library and Information studies.
9. To be free of this awful coalition government after the 2015 General Election.
10. To be healthy and stress free.

This is part of the 52 lists series by Emma from Made in Hunters which I'm dipping in and out of.

Gemma
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Friday, 4 July 2014

New Store - Superdrug Beauty Studio Cardiff

Beauty lovers of Cardiff are in for a treat because a brand new concept store Beauty Studio by Superdrug opens in St David's Centre today. I attended a preview evening last night and I was impressed by the 'candy shop' feel, colour coded zones and all the treatments on offer.

This store offers a combination of beauty services and products with highly trained staff who know which products are right for you and can apply it in store for you. 


The store will offer services like threading, lash tinting and extensions, manicures, nail painting and ear piercing. If you buy a nail polish in the store a nail technician can apply it for you too – free if you buy Revlon and £5 for other brands. I sampled a few of the treatments and had a wonderful blow dry and false lashes applied. I highly recommend a trip to the salon.


The store has a  'Hairspace' Superdrug's first in-store salon. Appointments are not necessary so you can simply turn up and get a whole new look by an experienced stylist at one of the five new workstations. The prices are great, it's just £30 for a cut and blow dry and you can get an up-do for a night out too. This store would be a great place to get ready for a big night out or for a wedding party to go to to get all their beauty treatments done in once place.


Sarah looking very glam in her all red ensemble behind the beauty treatment area.


I loved all the customisation in store, it was all designed and built especially for Cardiff and lots of signs were bilingual which is a lovely touch.


I picked up a few items from the new store but definitely need to head back when I have more time because there were so many exclusive brands to look a that I had never seen before. I was particularly impressed with B. and Makeup Revolution.


There are lots of fun gadgets in store like a iPad where you can try out different hair colours and a little selfie catwalk where you can film yourself and send it to twitter and facebook which I had a great time trying out.




If you want to see the new store for yourself it's opening today and can be found in the St David's shopping centre.

Gemma
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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Kaliko Middleton dress

This is a picture of a Kaliko Middleton dress
Dress: c/o kaliko at House of Fraser - Shoes: Ankia Kendra Clarks
This is a photo of a lilac kaliko dress
 I have to say I truly felt like a princess (or should I say Duchess) in this lilac Middleton dress. It's so feminine and and the pleats give a flattering finish.The photos don't really capture how vivid the colour is and how much of an impression the dress makes.

I love the lace detail at the bust and the tiny buttons on the back (photo below) and the fact that it has little capped sleeves makes me feel more comfortable as I don't like my arms exposed in strapless dresses. Kaliko have really created the perfect summer event dress in my opinion. It's demure enough for a church wedding but dressy enough for a day at the races and would event suit a more mature lady as a mother of the bride outfit in the more subtle pink shade.

This is a photo of purple Hydrangea plant.

The shoes are from Clarks and have a very comfortable mid heel and cushioning inside. These nude heels are going to get plenty of wear as they go with so many things, can't believe I've never had a pair of nude shoes before.


I kept my make up simple and wore my new ELF Moisturising Lipstick which was a bargain at under £4 and tied my hair up in a messy low bun.If you want to shop this look yourself head to House of Fraser in Cardiff (or nationwide) who stock all Jacques Vert lines including Kaliko.


A selection of the exclusive dresses from Bellville Sassoon designer Lorcan Mullany will be available at Jacques Vert in House of Fraser, Cardiff; the range has stylish and flattering day wear, including shorter, tailored dresses in classic shades of navy and oyster – perfect for a day at the races and for Mother of The Brides. For more cultured evening events, Lorcan has designed a selection of full length cocktail dresses, with ruching to nip you in at the waist, and some with light shrugs to flatter the arms as well as keeping the evening chill at bay.

Gemma
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